Early on January 29, the Houthis (Ansar Allah) announced that they had targeted a large gathering of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed Giants Brigades in the district of Usaylan in the Yemeni province of Shabwah with a ballistic missile.
In a brief statement, Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the group, said that the missile strike killed or wounded 40 fighters and commanders of the Giants Brigades. Several military vehicles were also destroyed.
These claims were dismissed by some Yemeni news sources, who said that the Houthis’ missile struck Abdullah bin Masoud mosque in the village of al-Safha. According to the sources, a civilian and two fighters of the Giants Brigades were killed as a result of the strike.
This was the Houthis’ second missile strike on Saudi-led coalition proxies in less than a week. On January 26, a ballistic missile launched by the group struck the provincial capital of Ma’rib. Back then, Brig. Gen. Sari claimed that scores of Saudi-backed fighters were killed. However, pro-Saudi sources said that attack claimed the lives of five civilians and wounded 23 others.
The Houthis’ new missile strike came just a few hours after the Giants Brigades announced the end of their military operation, codenamed Southern Strom, in central Yemen. The decision to end the operation was reportedly driven by the Houthis’ recent threats to the UAE.
Despite the announcement, the Giants Brigades continued to advance in Ma’rib. This was likely the main reason behind the Houthis’ decision to strike on Usaylan.
Source: South Front